The shakeup in Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner’s office could signal a tougher stance on school funding.
The state spending plan requires adoption of a new funding formula, but Rauner has promised to veto the plan that got legislative approval; that’s because it includes money for Chicago teacher pensions.
This standoff might make the lawsuit filed by 20 school superintendents more relevant.
The lawsuit, filed in April, demands that Illinois honor its constitutional obligation to provide a high quality education for all students. Matt Seaton, superintendent of Streator Township High School District, said that can’t happen if the state doesn’t enact a school funding plan. So his board just voted to join the court action.
“Schools are going to be in a less-capable position to meet the standards placed on us by the state if nothing passes,” he said.
The state has asked the court to dismiss the case. Rauner has replaced several top staff with people from the conservative Illinois Policy Institute, which has opposed the new school formula that lawmakers passed.
The evidence-based model would boost the aid to districts with low property values, which have been under-funded in the current formula.